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Online Bachelor Degrees

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Article Sources

Sources

  • College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed January 17-18, 2019, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
  • Tuition and Fees by Sector and State over Time, Trends in Higher Education, The College Board, accessed January 17-18, 2019, https://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-fees-sector-state-over-time
  • School pages, accessed January 17-18, 2019: About the U, The University of Utah, https://www.utah.edu/about/; Major Exploration Program, The University of Utah, https://advising.utah.edu/majors/quick-look/index.php; Undergraduate Degrees, UOnline, The University of Utah, https://online.utah.edu/ug-programs/index.php; BlockU Global Citizenship, UOnline, The University of Utah, https://online.utah.edu/ug-programs/blocku/index.php; Rankings & Facts, Florida International University, https://www.fiu.edu/about/rankings-facts/index.html; FIU Factbook, Florida International University, https://opir.fiu.edu/factbook2016/dash.html; Degrees & Programs, Florida International University, https://www.fiu.edu/academics/degrees-and-programs/index.html; Tuition and Fees, Florida International University, https://onestop.fiu.edu/financial-aid/tuition-and-fees/;Programs, University of Florida, https://catalog.ufl.edu/UGRD/programs/#filter=.filter_22; Online Undergraduate Degrees, University of Florida, https://ufonline.ufl.edu/degrees/undergraduate/; Undergraduate Tuition and Fees, University of Central Florida, https://www.ucf.edu/online/costs/undergraduate-tuition-and-fees/; UCF Online Degrees, University of Central Florida, https://www.ucf.edu/online/bachelors/; Online Undergraduate Programs, University of South Florida, https://www.usf.edu/innovative-education/programs/online-programs/online-undergraduate-programs.aspx; Majors, Undergraduate Studies, University of South Florida, https://www.usf.edu/undergrad/programs/#bsis; Accelerated Majors, University of South Florida, https://www.usf.edu/graduate-studies/academics/accelerated-majors.aspx; Quick Facts, Fort Hays State University, https://www.fhsu.edu/about/QuickFacts/; Bachelor's Programs, Online Degrees, Fort Hays State University, https://www.fhsu.edu/virtualcollege/degrees/bachelors/index; Campus Locations, Florida Atlantic University, http://fau.edu/; The University… At A Glance, Florida Atlantic University, http://www.fau.edu/about/index.php; Accelerated BSN Program, Florida Atlantic University, https://nursing.fau.edu/admissions/bachelor-of-science-nursing-program/accelerated-bsn/; Online Degrees, Florida Atlantic University, http://www.fau.edu/onlinedegrees/; All Online Programs, Florida Atlantic University, http://fauelearning.com/fauonline/portfolio_category/all-online-programs/page/3/; About, University of Mary, https://www.umary.edu/about/; Online Admission Requirements, University of Mary, https://www.umary.edu/admissions/online-evening/index.php; Online Programs & Evening Locations, University of Mary, https://www.umary.edu/admissions/online-evening/locations-programs.php; Main Campus - Bismarck, ND, University of Mary, https://www.umary.edu/about/campuses/bismarck-main-campus.php; Academic Programs For You, University of Mary, https://www.umary.edu/academics/programs/index.php; Degree Programs, Grand Canyon University, https://www.gcu.edu/degree-programs; About GCU, Our History, Grand Canyon University, https://www.gcu.edu/about-gcu/history-of-gcu.php; Quick Facts, Liberty University, https://www.liberty.edu/aboutliberty/index.cfm?PID=6925; Purpose & Mission Statement, Liberty University, https://www.liberty.edu/aboutliberty/index.cfm?PID=6899; Online Engagement, Liberty University, https://www.liberty.edu/faithservice/index.cfm?PID=34927; Undergraduate, Liberty University, https://www.liberty.edu/undergrad/; Bachelor's Degree Online Programs, Liberty University, https://www.liberty.edu/online/degrees/bachelors/; Military Transfer Credit, Liberty University, http://www.liberty.edu/administration/militaryaffairs/index.cfm?PID=10070; Experience Plus, Liberty University, https://www.liberty.edu/online/experience-plus/
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
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Intro to Bachelor's Degrees

If you want both the knowledge of a broad education and the expertise of a specific field, then a bachelor's degree — also known as a "baccalaureate" — could be right for you. Bachelor's degree programs typically take four years to complete and require general education courses followed by courses tied to a degree. This degree level helps students to learn skills in a specific field, or "major," such as business or information technology or sociology. In general, bachelor's degree programs:

  • Are offered through colleges or universities
  • Require core coursework in broad fields — like English, math and science — as well as courses specific to the major
  • Can be relevant to a variety of careers, from criminal justice to information technology to social science
  • May require an internship or field experience

Students who have already earned an associate degree are generally at an advantage when it comes to completing a bachelor's degree program. Many schools accept transfer courses from one degree level to the next, allowing students to build on the skills they developed during their associate program and complete a four-year degree program in less time.

Benefits of Earning an Online Bachelor's Degree

A person might choose to pursue a bachelor's degree for any number of personal motivations. Some of the more common reasons to earn a bachelor's degree include:

  • Lower unemployment rate: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that people who have earned a bachelor's degree have a lower unemployment rate than individuals who have only completed an associate degree, some college education or a high school diploma (BLS.gov.)
  • Higher weekly pay on average: People who have earned a bachelor's degree have weekly average earnings that are higher on average than those with associate degrees or just a high school diploma. In fact, people with bachelor's degrees earn an average $400 more per week than those solely having a high school diploma (BLS.gov).
  • Flexibility: Online bachelor's degree programs make it possible to attend class from your own home, on a break at work, or elsewhere, such as from your favorite coffee shop or library. Sometimes this can allow a student to take classes they would otherwise be unable to reach in time; sometimes, the time a student saves on commuting can be used to take an accelerated program they would otherwise be too busy to handle.

Earning a bachelor's degree can be particularly important if:

  • ...you would like to begin a career that requires a bachelor's degree for an entry-level position. Accounting, computer systems analysis, engineering, K-12 teaching and personal finance are all good examples of careers you can typically only do after earning a bachelor's in a related field.
  • ...you intend to pursue a career that requires a graduate degree for an entry-level position. For example, you'd need to earn at least a master's degree to become an attorney, and it's unlikely you'd be able to earn a master's without first completing a baccalaureate. Generally, there are specific undergraduate degree programs that students complete in order to prepare for the next step of their education — to continue our example, as an aspiring attorney, you might decide to earn your bachelor's degree in criminal justice as a stepping stone for enrolling in law school afterwards.

Best Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Using a methodology that ranks colleges based on affordability, available career services, number of online programs, distance education participation and more, we bring to you our ranking of the best online colleges offering online bachelor's degree programs. Explore the schools below for more insight into the bachelor's degree programs you might be looking for. 

You can view our full methodology by clicking the button below.

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Methodology
1

University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$8,884
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
33%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
390
School Type
4-year

Undergraduate programs at the University of Utah encompass a diverse catalog of subjects, including majors from accounting and art history to gender studies and geological engineering. Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degrees are available, as well as Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) programs and other specialized types of bachelor's degree. Online degrees here can be earned in economics, sustainable tourism and more.

  • Why it's good for online bachelor's degrees: Online students with their eye toward the future of our global village can enroll in BlockU, an intensive general education experience built around the theme of world citizenship. This unique approach to the basic coursework of online bachelor's degree programs can give you a fresh perspective on the substance of your education.
2

Florida International University (Miami, Florida)

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,556
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
60%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
45
School Type
4-year

Florida International University is one of the largest universities in the country, awarding more than 10,000 degrees in 2017-18 and boasting a student body that numbers over 56,000, so students who attend classes on campus will have an ocean of study partners to choose from. The College of Arts, Sciences and Education tops the list of most popular subject areas by enrollment, with the College of Business and the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs rounding out the top three.

  • Why it's good for online bachelor's degrees: More than 58 percent of those enrolled at FIU in 2018 took at least some of their classes online, meaning that the online cohort here contains nearly 28,000 students.
3

University of Florida (Gainesville, Florida)

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,381
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
58%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
50
School Type
4-year

If you're hoping to pay for part of your education with help from financial aid programs, the University of Florida might be a good destination for you. Few other schools in the country reported a higher expected amount of federal grant aid per student than this Gainesville institution, where students were awarded an average of more than $5,500 in 2018. Of the 52,000-strong student population, around 94 percent were receiving some form of financial aid.

  • Why it's good for online bachelor's degrees: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees are each available in the virtual as well as the traditional classroom, with degrees in business administration and certain other subjects giving students a choice between the two study tracks.
4

University of Central Florida (Orlando, Florida)

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,368
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
58%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
45
School Type
4-year

The student body at the University of Central Florida is truly massive, with nearly 57,000 undergraduates and more than 66,000 enrolled in total, so students who like the feel of bustling, high-density environments might thrive on campus here. The high reported enrollment may be related to the generally affordable tuition for online bachelor's degree programs; Florida residents enrolled in distance education programs pay less than $80 more per term than their counterparts attending courses on campus.

  • Why it's good for online bachelor's degrees: An array of close to 20 B.A. and B.S. degrees can be earned online at UCF, in subjects like health informatics, anthropology, criminal justice, English, psychology, nursing and religion and cultural studies.
5

University of South Florida - Main Campus (Tampa, Florida)

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,410
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
53%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
22
School Type
4-year

Several different types of bachelor's degrees are available at the University of South Florida, including some designed for students who want to earn two sequential degrees in a shorter span of time than usual. These accelerated bachelor's degree/master's degree programs can allow you to take on some graduate or professional courses in select majors before you've officially finished your undergraduate work. Bachelor of General Studies (B.G.S.) and Bachelor of Science in Applied Science (B.S.A.S.) degrees are also offered for nontraditional students.

  • Why it's good for online bachelor's degrees: The online bachelor's degree completion programs here are delivered in a hybrid format, with some programs requiring internships, clinical experiences or other in-person sections. If you're not ready for a fully online program, USF might be right for you.
6

Fort Hays State University (Hays, Kansas)

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,009
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
81%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
37
School Type
4-year

As one of the fastest growing colleges in Kansas, Fort Hays State University serves around 15,000 students each year. It's got a track record of success with career-minded students, recording a post-graduation job placement rate of 95 percent in 2017-18, and alumni of its chemistry, biology and physics programs have a near-100 percent rate of acceptance to schools of medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, pharmacy and optometry.

  • Why it's good for online bachelor's degrees: The numbers suggest that online education is a way of life at FHSU. More than three-fourths of enrolled students take at least some of their courses online, and the list of almost 70 online bachelor's degree programs includes such high-demand subjects as finance, computer science and geographical information systems (GIS).
7

Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton, Florida)

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$4,831
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
44%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
18
School Type
4-year

Florida Atlantic University is taking the lead in STEM education by offering the first ocean engineering program in the U.S., and that's not the only uncommon advantage at this South Florida school. Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) and Bachelor of Public Safety Administration (B.P.S.A.) programs are among the types of bachelor's degree offered here, and an accelerated bachelor's degree in nursing (B.S.N.) program is available for working registered nurses.

  • Why it's good for online bachelor's degrees: Average yearly tuition and fees for FAU students ran to around $4,800 in 2018, representing savings of around $1,500 off the statewide average cost and classifying the Boca Raton institution one of the most affordable four-year schools in the country in terms of tuition alone.
8

University of Mary (Bismarck, North Dakota)

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$18,224
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
66%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
77
School Type
4-year

This private, Catholic university in North Dakota's capital maintains a fairly close-knit learning environment. Just under 3,400 total students -- around 2,200 undergraduates and 1,200 graduate students -- attended classes here in 2018, and the student-faculty ratio of 14:1 means that personalized consultations with professors are likely to be available for students who thrive in one-on-one or small group settings.

  • Why it's good for online bachelor's degrees: If you can't attend a traditional college program but you're not ready to fully immerse yourself in online study, the University of Mary has an option for you. Many of the Bismarck school's online degrees can also be earned through hybrid evening programs, which may require only a few credit hours in the virtual classroom.
9

Grand Canyon University (Phoenix, Arizona)

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$17,050
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
90%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
94
School Type
4-year

Grand Canyon University is a very large school, ranking in the 99th percentile nationwide for enrollment size, but that doesn't necessarily make for a crowded campus. Online education is a big part of the mission at this Phoenix, Arizona, institution -- so much so that only around 10,000 of its more than 83,000 enrolled students earn their degrees entirely in brick-and-mortar classrooms. The online catalog here contains close to 90 degree plans and some degrees can be earned on an evening schedule.

  • Why it's good for online bachelor's degrees: The high online enrollment at GCU can be a blessing to first-time online students. Professors, administrators and senior classmates are likely to have enough experience with the digital delivery format to help you get settled in.
10

Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia)

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$21,310
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
90%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2017-18, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
127
School Type
4-year

Liberty University is a private, Christian institution founded by preacher and televangelist Jerry Falwell in 1971. Academic programs here are inseparable from Christian religious teaching, whether delivered online or on campus. More than 30 undergraduate degrees are available online from this Virginia-based school, including bachelor's degrees in aviation, fire administration, respiratory therapy, religion, biblical studies and Christian leadership.

  • Why it's good for online bachelor's degrees: Nontraditional students have several pathways to graduation at Liberty. Time spent in qualifying military service can be converted into college credit, for example, and students with life experience or occupational training that relates directly to their degree program may submit an application for Experience Plus credit to potentially shorten their time in school.

Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degree Programs

This list details the five four-year online colleges offering online bachelor's degree programs that have the lowest tuition costs and fees in the U.S.

Quality and affordability are both important characteristics when it comes to deciding on a college. In case you would prefer to see online colleges ranked on other relevant factors — such as religious affiliation or nonprofit status — our Top Colleges Tool can help you do so.

 
Article Sources
Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following criteria:

  1. Have at least 1% of students attending some form of distance education
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate at the bachelor's degree level in 2016-17
  3. All schools are institutionally accredited
  4. Have reported data for all 11 ranking variables listed below

We ranked the resulting 825 colleges on 11 criteria, using 2016-17 data from IPEDS:

  1. Number of programs at this degree level offered via distance education
  2. Degree prominence, based on how many of the degrees awarded in 2016-17 were at this particular degree level
  3. Ratio of undergraduate students participating fully or partially in DE to total enrollment
  4. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  5. Graduation rate
  6. Retention rate
  7. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Prepaid, Guaranteed, Other)
    1. Payment
    2. Prepaid
    3. Guaranteed
    4. Other
  8. Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers)
    1. Academic/Career
    2. Placement for Completers
  9. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)
    1. Dual
    2. Life
    3. AP
    4. Military
  10. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  11. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students
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